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December 01, 2022

Week 13 NFL picks

Eagles NFL
120122AJBrown Bill Streicher/USA TODAY Sports

Eagles QB Jalen Hurts has A.J. Brown, while Titans QB Ryan Tannehill does not have A.J. Brown.

For the gambling enthusiasts, here are my Week 13 NFL picks. To note, the team logos indicate who I think will win the game, not cover the spread. At the end of the picks, I'll note a few teams that I like based on the spread.


Bills (-3.5) at Patri*ts: There are compelling games all across the AFC East this week.

  1. Bills at Patri*ts
  2. Jets at Vikings
  3. Dolphins at 49ers

Depending on how things shake out, the Bills, Dolphins, or Jets could be leading the division on Sunday night. The team that won't be leading the division is the Patri*ts, who have feasted on quarterbacks like Mitch Trubisky, Jared Goff, Jacoby Brissett, Zach Wilson x2, and Sam Ehlinger.

However, when they face anyone decent — like Tua Tagovailoa, Lamar Jackson, Aaron Rodgers, Justin Fields, and Kirk Cousins — they lose. I think we can probably put Josh Allen into the "decent quarterback" bucket.


Titans at Eagles (-4.5): The Eagles did whatever they wanted on the ground against an atrocious, soft Packers run defense last Sunday night. This Sunday, they'll face the exact opposite type of defense in the Tennessee Titans, who, as noted in our five matchups to watch, have a very stingy run defense:

Titans run defense Stat Rank 
Rushing yards per game 84.4 
Rushing first downs per game 5.5 
Rushing TDs per game 0.3 
 Yards per rush attempt3.9 
Percentage of rushing plays resulting in first downs 28.5% 

One of the themes of this Eagles season has been the wide variety of ways that Jalen Hurts and the offense can move the ball and score points. I believe they'll be able to do that through the air, as they'll have matchup advantages with A.J. Brown, DeVonta Smith, and Quez Watkins against a group of young Titans corners who are still trying to find their way in the NFL.

Of course, defensively, they'll have to be better against Derrick Henry than they have been recently against other formidable rushing attacks. Assuming Jordan Davis is elevated to the active roster by Sunday, it will be interesting to see how he is deployed, with free agent addition Linval Joseph having played well in Davis' absence.

The Eagles and Titans both have dominant rushing attacks. But there are two significant differences with these two teams:

  1. The Titans have a good run defense in addition to their good run offense. The Eagles have not proven that they can consistently shut down the run.
  2. Offensively, the Eagles can pivot from the run and be plenty effective through the air, while the Titans are largely dependent on their run game in 2022, mainly because they traded Brown.

Give me the versatile team that has A.J. Brown over the one-dimensional team that does not have A.J. Brown.


Steelers (-1) at Falcons: I went 1-6 in my picks against the spread last week, a few of which were bad beats. I like the Falcons in this matchup, but I can't take on more bad beat pain, so I'm not letting Atlanta hurt me.


Packers (-4.5) at Bears: Aaron Rodgers got TKO'd against the Eagles last Sunday night, but he has proclaimed himself good to go against the Bears, who may or may have Justin Fields at their disposal. If nothing else, Rodgers does at least own the Bears.


Jaguars (-1) at Lions: Trevor Lawrence is starting to show something as a franchise quarterback, but it's hard for me to overlook that the Jaguars are 1-20 on the road since 2020. Also, because this is a cat vs. cat matchup, I was curious how each of the four NFL cat teams have fared when they play other cat teams. Here are the NFL all-time intra-cat standings:

Intra-cat game standings, all-time Record 
 Panthers14-9-1 (0.604)
 Bengals24-19-1 (0.557)
 Jaguars19-19 (0.500)
 Lions10-20 (0.333)

You're welcome. Also, I'm realizing right now that a cat team has never won a Super Bowl.


Jets at Vikings (-3): Mike White completed 22 of 28 passes for 315 yards, 3 TDs, and 0 INTs for a QB rating of 149.3 against the Bears last week, after he took over for the benched Zach Wilson.

We did the "OMG Mike White is amazing!" thing last year, which quickly/predictably came to an end. Get on board the "Oh, so Mike White isn't so amazing" bandwagon early this year, friends.


Commanders (-2.5) at Giants: On Thanksgiving against the Cowboys, the Giants were without four of five starting offensive linemen, both starting cornerbacks, and arguably their top four receivers. They'll get some of those guys back, like RT Evan Neal, but this remains a very banged-up team that probably wasn't really even that good in the first place. The Giants' injury report:

Meanwhile, the Commanders are mostly healthy and have won six of their last seven games.


Broncos at Ravens (-8.5): The Broncos have lost seven of their last eight, and four of those losses came against teams with four or fewer wins.


Browns (-7) at Texans: The shameless Deshaun Watson era in Cleveland will officially begin, with Watson playing against his former team in Houston. That's pretty much the only reason to pay attention to this game.


Seahawks (-7.5) at Rams: The Rams' immediate descent from Super Bowl champs to bottom five team has been kind of crazy to see.


Dolphins at 49ers (-4): The Niners have not given up a second half point in any of their last four games, and as a result they haven't needed Jimmy Garoppolo to be much more than a caretaker of the offense. It's going to be much harder to keep this extremely fast Dolphins offense in check. If Miami is able to put points on the board — they've scored at last 30 in each of their last four games — then the Niners are going to need Garoppolo to make plays, and that's when things tend to unravel for them. This is such a great late afternoon matchup, by the way, between a pair of teams trying to prove that they are legitimate Super Bowl contenders.


Chiefs (-1.5) at Bengals: The AFC Championship rematch is the other great game during the late afternoon window this week. The Bengals are beginning to look dangerous, even while missing Ja'Marr Chase for the last four games, but for me the call in this game is simple — the Chiefs are the best team in the NFL and it's not asking much to have to lay 1.5 points.


Chargers (-1.5) at Raiders: After a disastrous 2-7 start, the Raiders are playing much better of late, and I like Josh Jacobs' chances for another big day against this soft Chargers run defense.


Colts at Cowboys (-11): The in-season new head coach bump has probably run its course for the Colts, and we can likely expect them to meekly fade into the ether the rest of this season. You can probably go ahead and pencil in the Cowboys for a 10-3 record, as they'll face the Houston Texans at home next week.


Saints at Buccaneers (-3.5): This is an enormous game for the Saints' first-round draft pick, which of course is owned by the Eagles. The Saints are still alive in the NFC South, but only because there isn't a single team in the division with a winning record:

 NFC SouthRecord 

If you play around with the playoff predictor at, the Saints currently have an 8 percent chance of making the playoffs. If they beat the Buccaneers on Monday night, it shoots way up to 24 percent. If they lose, 0.9 percent. A Bucs win would all but guarantee the Eagles at least a top 18 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.

So if you're an Eagles fan, you should be rooting hard for Tom Brady and Bucs. Unfortunately, the Bucs aren't really a good football team anymore, and could very well blow the division. I enjoyed this takedown of Tampa by Sheil:

Ultimately, the Saints are probably worse though, so give me the Bucs.

Teams on their bye week: Cardinals, Panthers

• Picks against the spread: Bills (-3.5), Vikings (-3), Commanders (-2.5), Dolphins (+4), Chiefs (-1.5).

• Eagles picks: 9-2

• 2022 season, straight up: 107-72-1 (0.597)
• 2022 season, ATS: 36-34 (0.514)
• 2021 season, straight up: 179-105-1 (0.630)
• 2021 season, ATS: 46-40-1 (0.534)
• 2020 season, straight up: 169-81-1 (0.675)
• 2020 season, ATS: 45-37-3 (0.547)
• 2019 season, straight up: 160-107-1 (0.601)
• 2019 season, ATS: 42-35-3 (0.544)
• 2018 season, straight up: 173-94-2 (0.647)
• 2018 season, ATS: 41-36-2 (0.532)
• 2017 season, straight up: 181-86 (0.678)
• 2017 season, ATS: 36-32-2 (0.529)
• 2016 season, straight up: 171-94-2 (0.644)
• 2016 season, ATS:  41-34 (0.547)
• 2015 season, straight up: 163-93 (0.637)
• 2015 season, ATS: 46-30-2 (0.605)

• Last 8 years, ATS: 333-278-13 (0.544)

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